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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2018

01. Aeon Sable
- Aether
02. Amorphis
- Queen Of Time
03. Atrium Carceri
- Codex
04. Dimmu Borgir
- Eonian
05. Behemoth
- I Loved You At Your Darkest
06. The Eternal
- Waiting For The Endless Dawn
07. MGT
- Gemini Nyte
08. Primordial
- Exile Amongst The Ruins
09. Khôrada
- Salt
10. Immortal
- Northern Chaos Gods


Random album

The Stompcrash - Swear By The Moon (2017) - Review

Band: The Stompcrash
Album title: Swear By The Moon
Release date: 20 January 2017
Label: Trisol Music Group

01. My Tied Bride
02. Plague Doctor
03. Twisted Souls
04. Consciousness
05. Dance Like Marionettes
06. Love Is The Deepest Sea
07. The Wedding Knell
08. High Seas
09. Take me Away
10. Mirrors

Almost three years after their seminal album, Love From Hell, the Italian quartet returns with their fourth full-lenght album titled Swear By The Moon. The band centered around vocalist Chris exists since 2002 and by their unique take on darkwave/goth music they gained quite a reputation in the dark music scene around the world. I was eagerly waiting for Swear By The Moon, mostly because I liked a lot the previous album, so obviously I expected something monumental. The fact is also that darkwave/gothic rock scene is rather impoverished lately, there are not really many stunning albums released that could hit you straight in the heart. And..., guess what, neither Swear By The Moon is one of them. It's not a bad album at all, but I simply expected a bit more, something extraordinary.

The two guys and two girls who form the line-up of The Stompcrash offer on their new full-lenght ten tracks of sombre romantic darkwave music with many generic gothic rock passages. The problem is that everything is just a bit too mellow and too much predictable, but still they managed to make some hits, like it's the very catchy single "Twisted Souls", with an addictive rhythm and refrain that will get stuck in your head probably for a long time; I think this is one of the best tracks this band ever did. I like those romantic, deep and velvety dark vocals, backened by strong reverberate bass lines, simple but appealing drumming and straight generic goth rock guitars with kind of a pop sensibility. Similar in mood is also the infectious last track called "Mirrors", another gem that will be on my goth rock playlist for a long time. As well the captivating "Dance Like Marionettes" and a bit more upbeat and dynamic "Love Is The Deepest Sea" are the songs that simply satisfy my daily dose for gothic rock. 

What I like better than ever before in The Stompcrash music is a special ambiance created by synths. Sometimes gloomy as hell, other times a bit symphonic, with kind of a connotation to the classical music, but always deepening the whole thing. They know how to keep the things flowing, unfortunately too often with safe compositions and simple rhythms, sometimes even too safe and simple. If you listen carefully you'll find in certain parts elements that could remind to the most gentle things that Moonspell or Timat ever did, for example in the beginning of "Plague Doctor". But there are those mediocre songs like is "The Wedding Knell", "Consciousness" or too generic "High Seas", that work out, if I allow myself to be a bit harsh, like some good for nothing fillers. Nevertheless I must say that I love how nicely they blend together gothic rock and darkwave elements, thus converge everything into something mystical, and with somehow melancholic pop melodies they are creating quite rich and mostly catchy, very accessible sound. 

In their mysterious lyrics the band takes inspirations from great poets/writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe or Franz Kafka. The mystical vision that surrounds this album is deepened also by interesting occultistic dark artwork. All in all, The Stompcrash have their own identity and on Swear By The Moon they show it maybe more than ever, even though I missed some sparks. Production is good, so it's the final mix and like I said before this is not a bad album at all, I'm sure that romantic souls who like gothic rock will love it, but it might be a bit too "daily" for more demanding listeners.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Ugasanie
Album title: The Dark Side
Release date: 19 September 2015
Label: Black Mara Records

Ugasanie takes a vacation from his often polar dark ambient style, to give us a truly eerie album! White Silence's “To The Lord Of The Polar Desert With Seven Faces” and “Arctic Hysteria” on Call Of The North gave us a hint of some of the creepier territory that Ugasanie was comfortable in. However these tracks were part of greater polar-themed albums. The Dark Side takes us to a whole new place with Ugasanie, down the deep dark corridors of the underworld itself. The Dark Side is an ode to death and eternity, where you will hear field recordings captured in places such as morgues and cemeteries. It is a prayer to Mara, the Slavic goddess associated with seasonal rites based on the idea of death and rebirth of nature. She is associated with death, winter, and nightmares. A very fitting patroness for Ugasanie and a fitting name for the fledgling label Black Mara, which specializes in dark ambient. The darkness Ugasanie portrays here is as cinematic as it is unnerving, yet it is never too harsh or overwhelming for the listener. It holds us tightly in Mara’s embrace and keeps us there from beginning to end. Ugasanie has shown us the darkness of Mara, goddess of death, in a brilliant collection of tracks. This album is highly recommended for any fan of dark ambient with equal amounts of subtlety and aggression.

Read a full review HERE